Use these resources to inform partners in the fields of suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use disorders about the 988 Formative Research project and research findings.
The 988 Formative Research used qualitative and quantitative methods to uncover insights about 988 and help-seeking behaviors among populations at higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide. Findings include:
- Roughly half of the respondents were aware of 988, but most said they don’t know much about it.
- Young adults ages 13-34 (especially those who are Black) and LGBTQIA+ participants (ages 13-49) were more likely than other populations in the study to say they’d use 988, whereas rural older men (ages 49+) were least likely to say they’d use it.
- Those who would consider using 988 when struggling with their mental health found its 24/7 availability most helpful. Other top reasons included:
- The ability to communicate with someone who’s trained to help.
- It’s anonymous.
- The ability to communicate with a real person.
- It’s free.
- Those who would not consider using 988 would not do so due to concerns of:
- Credibility and privacy (especially for rural older men ages 49+).
- Opening up to a stranger (particularly among young adults ages 13-34).
- Someone being called as a result of their contacting 988—like their parents (among teens), law enforcement, or a hospital. This was especially noted among those who have experienced suicidal ideation.
- For receiving information on 988, the majority of study participants would most trust and turn to family and friends, followed by professional healthcare resources.
Tailorable Promotional PPT Slide
Access the PPT slide.
New research on messaging about 988 to people at higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide is now available at www.988messaging.org/research. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the Ad Council Research Institute, have published the results of a mixed-methods formative research study describing the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, barriers, and motivations related to 988 and adopting help-seeking behaviors among populations with a higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide. The research provides a strong starting point for better understanding how to reach key audiences and support culturally sensitive, responsive, effective, and successful 988 communications. The project is funded by SAMHSA through the SPRC grant, at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
The research provides strategic insights that can be used by communicators to craft and test more effective and personalized messages and campaigns tailored for each of the study cohorts, which included:
- American Indian and Alaska Native youth and young adults (ages 13-34)
- Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander youth and young adults (ages 13-34)
- Black youth and young adults (ages 13-34)
- Hispanic youth and young adults (ages 13-34)
- Individuals who have attempted suicide or experienced serious thoughts of suicide during their lifetime (ages 18+)
- LGBTQIA+ youth and adults (ages 13-49)
- People with disabilities (ages 13+)
- Rural older men (ages 49+)
The project also includes groups identified as trusted messengers by the eight populations at higher risk for suicide or disproportionately impacted by suicide. Findings are expected in 2024 for trusted messengers populations, which include:
The 988 Formative Research offers insights that can be used by the field to make informed decisions about how about how to raise awareness of and instill trust in 988 among populations at higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide. This research also generated evidence-based message frames that can be tested, validated, and enhanced through additional message testing and research. Additional research efforts among other populations at high risk for suicide will be critical.
Access the full report and communications toolkit at www.988messaging.org/research.
Social Media and Shareable Graphics
- The @Action_Alliance, @SPRCtweets, and @AdCouncil released NEW #988FormativeResearch about groups disproportionately impacted by suicide to support culturally sensitive, effective 988 communications: 988messaging.org/research. @988lifeline @samhsagov @EDCTweets
- Use the NEW #988FormativeResearch to help make more people aware of 988 and instill trust and confidence in the crucial service. View the evidence-based research here: 988messaging.org/research. @Action_Alliance @SPRCtweets @AdCouncil @988lifeline @samhsagov @EDCTweets
- We encourage you to use the NEW #988FormativeResearch to help inform messaging and communications about 988. Learn more: 988messaging.org/research. @Action_Alliance @SPRCtweets @AdCouncil @988lifeline @samhsagov @EDCTweets
Please use #988FormativeResearch and tag us in your social media posts:
LinkedIn: @National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, @Suicide Prevention Resource Center, @Ad Council, @Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), @EDC (Education Development Center)
Watch the recording of a webinar that previews findings of the 988 Formative Research.
SAMHSA 988 Partner Toolkit
SAMHSA’s 988 Partner Toolkit is a one-stop shop for social media, video, print, radio, FAQs, messaging, and other marketing materials for anyone to use to promote awareness of 988.